Having allergies means the the immune system is over responding to some type of substance, that does not normally trigger a response. Common substances that cause allergies are pollen, mold, pet hair, dust, pollution and some types of foods. Allergies can be seasonal or year round and the symptoms can be mild or severe. Along with runny itchy eyes, stuffy nose, rashes and fatigue, there are also ear related symptoms of allergies. To help fully manage this condition, it is important to know what symptoms to look for and to seek medical care early.
Ear Popping and Fullness
Ear popping and sensations of the ear feeling full are common symptoms of allergies, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. This can occur if the mucus produced by an allergic reaction, drains into the Eustachian tube. This tube travels from the back of the ear into the throat. Its job is to drain excess fluid from the ear and equalize the pressure in the ears. If the lining of this tube becomes inflamed, then the ears may start to feel full and pop.
Since the ears play a role in maintaining balance, inflammation can lead to a loss of balance, dizziness and even vertigo. The first step in treatment, is to identify the allergen that is triggering the symptoms, and then taking steps to lower exposure when possible
Earache and Infections
In severe cases, allergies can cause the Eustachian tube to become completely blocked. This can cause pain as fluid accumulates behind the ear drum. If the fluid buildup is not treated, an ear infection can develop warns the National Institutes of Health.
Ear infections can cause drainage from the ear, ringing or buzzing sounds in the ear and there may be a fever. Infants and children are at a higher risk of this complication. If the infection is bacterial then antibiotics are needed. A physician can also recommend ear drops to help clear the ears.
Fluid build up in the ear due to allergies can contribute to hearing loss, claims the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This occurs because the fluid prevents the sound from being interpreted correctly by the ear. There may be complete hearing loss or there may be an ability to only faintly hear sound. A loss of hearing can also effect the ability to speak clearly.
If the fluid buildup has not caused physical damage to the ears, then medication to treat the underlying condition or surgery to drain the fluid, can be tried to help restore hearing.